I have been involved in education for 25 years as teacher, school leader, governor and inspector. After 23 years in prep schools, with 10 as a head, I have recently taken up the role leading a new Free School. I am fascinated by the way in which people of all ages learn and how we can blend new technology with good communication to strengthen our practice as educators.
Whether driven by personal belief, a sense of social justice, or by a maniacal headteacher who espouses innovation and novelty at every turn, we are all, as educators, bound by one immutable fact: children will learn something from us which will last through their lives.
It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to work together to provide support and guidance, resources, and practical help. This is especially important when someone - a child, a family - faces challenges and are feeling lost and alone. Schools are, by their very nature, a community. Built of myriad parts, it has human relationships at its heart: teacher-pupil, SLT-teacher, head-governors, and so on. This community, as a system, when functioning well, has the children, at its core.
I come to write this piece after a brief Twitter exchange, a shared appreciation of the 1998 Coen brothers cult classic The Big Lebowski, with Innovate My School editor James Cain, Emerging from our ensuing conversation was the idea of an article to explore what lessons in leadership, if any, might be gleaned from Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski. Despite my love of the movie, and my interest in leadership lessons from art as well as life, at first it felt a little like scraping the bottom of the metaphor barrel. However, after some reflection, I came to the conclusion that perhaps there is something in the movie that may be worth sharing...